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Open AccessArticle

The Effect of Hearing Aid Use on Cognition in Older Adults: Can We Delay Decline or Even Improve Cognitive Function?

1
Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
2
Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
3
CogState, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia
4
Sonova AG, Zurich, 8712 Stäfa, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(1), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9010254
Received: 19 December 2019 / Revised: 14 January 2020 / Accepted: 14 January 2020 / Published: 17 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapies for Hearing Loss)
Hearing loss is a modifiable risk factor for dementia in older adults. Whether hearing aid use can delay the onset of cognitive decline is unknown. Participants in this study (aged 62–82 years) were assessed before and 18 months after hearing aid fitting on hearing, cognitive function, speech perception, quality of life, physical activity, loneliness, isolation, mood, and medical health. At baseline, multiple linear regression showed hearing loss and age predicted significantly poorer executive function performance, while tertiary education predicted significantly higher executive function and visual learning performance. At 18 months after hearing aid fitting, speech perception in quiet, self-reported listening disability and quality of life had significantly improved. Group mean scores across the cognitive test battery showed no significant decline, and executive function significantly improved. Reliable Change Index scores also showed either clinically significant improvement or stability in executive function for 97.3% of participants, and for females for working memory, visual attention and visual learning. Relative stability and clinically and statistically significant improvement in cognition were seen in this participant group after 18 months of hearing aid use, suggesting that treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids may delay cognitive decline. Given the small sample size, further follow up is required. View Full-Text
Keywords: hearing loss; cognitive decline; hearing aids; older adults; age; education; sex; speech perception hearing loss; cognitive decline; hearing aids; older adults; age; education; sex; speech perception
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Sarant, J.; Harris, D.; Busby, P.; Maruff, P.; Schembri, A.; Lemke, U.; Launer, S. The Effect of Hearing Aid Use on Cognition in Older Adults: Can We Delay Decline or Even Improve Cognitive Function? J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9, 254.

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